Should your landlord or letting agent take photographs when they do tenancy inspection visits asks David Lawrenson of www.Tenants-Renting-Guide.com?
Tenancy Inspection Visits
Most landlords and letting agents do an inspection visit around 3 months after the start of a tenancy and then again 6 months later.
After that, pragmatism should prevail. If it is clear that you are looking after the property very well and if you are the sort of folks who will promptly spot and report to anything that needs attention, then a sensible landlord or letting agent should leave visits to once a year at most.
This makes good tenants feel it is their home – which, of course, it is, for the duration of the tenancy.
In the last 6 weeks of any tenancy, you can, however, expect the letting agent to come round and do a more detailed inspect, so that you or they, (if it is their responsibility), have a chance to fix anything broken.
Most letting agents and landlords will have a detailed checklist for tenancy inspection visits. Ideally, you should be in when these visits are done.
One potentially contentious issue is whether or not to take photographs of anything which relates to the property.
Tenancy Inspection Visits – Tenant Lifestyle
In my view it is fine to take photos of anything which is damaged – if only for the purpose of sending it to whichever contractor is going to effect a repair.
But letting agents and landlords could also include taking photos of anything that is “tenant lifestyle” related too to protect their position. A letting agent may do this to prevent accidents or damage in the future or to act as a defence in case of damage to the property, necessitating a possible future deduction from the tenancy deposit at the end of the tenancy.
So, if a fire escape is blocked by something of yours, they may take a photo of that. If you are drying clothes on radiators, (which can cause damp and mould), they may take a distance photo of that.
As far as possible, they should avoid taking photos which show any of the tenant’s personal possessions – and of course, there is no need for anyone to be “in shot” in any photo. Doing so at a tenancy inspection visit or any other visit, could be deemed to be an invasion of a tenant’s privacy and a breach of their right to “quiet enjoyment”.
All tenancy inspection visits should be followed with an email communication, highlighting anything you need to do. Where necessary, this will include photos.
Tenancy Inspection Visits at Start and End of Tenancy and the Inventory
Of course, it should go without saying that, in addition to these inspection visits during the tenancy, at the start and at the end of the tenancy, a detailed inventory should also be done, ideally by an independent, professional inventory clerk. This comprehensive document will include photos and detailed descriptions of everything in the property and comment on the state of the cleanliness too.
Without such a “before and after” tenancy inventory document, a landlord will have a very hard time trying to make a case for deductions from a tenancy deposit, if you contest any deduction from your deposit.
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